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Another "should I eat this?" question
March 9, 2014 3:31 PM   Subscribe

I will preface this by saying I am extremely paranoid about food safety. I today purchased an organic whole chicken from the grocery store. The outside of the chicken smelled great; the cavity, where the giblets were just floating around loose with reckless abandon, had a very slight off-odor, like milk and maybe old blood. I rinsed it and still got a very faint whiff. The expiration isn't for 5 more days. In an effort to be brave, I have put her in the oven anyway. Shall I eat her?
posted by sandwiches to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
If you have a meat thermometer and cook the chicken to 165F (I actually cook it to 165F, instead of doing the "cook til 160F and let it coast to 165F" thing) you should be ok.

Definitely wash your sink and counters with a bleach solution though, just to be safe. And yes, I'm pretty paranoid about food safety too, because having food poisoning is awful.
posted by RogueTech at 3:36 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]


Oh, and make sure you test in a few places.
posted by RogueTech at 3:36 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Yes. Eat it.
posted by rtha at 3:41 PM on March 9 [8 favorites]


Make sure it's cooked thoroughly, but yes, eat it. Here's some guidelines regarding how to tell cookedness.

To be frank, this sounds like pretty much every fresh chicken I've ever cooked. Make sure it's done and you'll be fine.
posted by Solomon at 3:53 PM on March 9 [5 favorites]


"Off" chicken doesn't smell like milk/blood... it smells distinctly of fish. When it's gone bad, you'll know. Try to find an old-fashioned butcher's shop - it's a distinct smell, one we're often not used to, and not really a "good" smell (but not a bad smell either). Fresh raw meat definitely does/should have a smell, although lots of factory meat ends up "washed" (bleach? ammonia?) and seems to end up pretty scent-less. There's not much frame of reference for what meat should smell like, so any smell at all comes off as being a bad thing (even when the meat is fine). If you have to ask, it's likely fine - just cook it as the folks above are saying.

I have a terrible sense of smell and am pregnant, but I'd eat your chicken (provided it's cooked through). I have never given myself food poisoning.
posted by jrobin276 at 4:01 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]


Background: rasied approx. 20 chickens and slaughtered them ourselves.
posted by jrobin276 at 4:05 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Yeah--I wouldn't describe it as a fishy smell but you would definitely, definitely know it. It's gross. That faint whiff of something is not the best but totally within the realm of normal. Next time, ask when chicken comes in and buy and cook it on those days. Makes a big difference, for me at least.
posted by HotToddy at 4:09 PM on March 9


thanks for the advice! I almost always overcook meat, so that shouldn't be a problem. I will try going to a butcher or asking next time.
posted by sandwiches at 4:14 PM on March 9


Yeah, when chicken goes off it's distinctly putrid -- there's no mistaking it.
posted by scody at 4:21 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I agree it's probably fine, but As I understand it you can't cook the danger out of something that's turned bad.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:21 PM on March 9


For future reference the guideline these days is that one should NOT rinse chicken - distributes any possible contamination further. I would certainly eat that chicken though.
posted by leslies at 4:22 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


yes, I know you're not technically supposed to wash chicken, though when they smell like the blood they've been sitting in it's hard not to.
posted by sandwiches at 4:25 PM on March 9


Meat tastes like blood, basically.

Your chicken is fine. Bon appetit.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:38 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Yeah, when chicken goes off it's distinctly putrid -- there's no mistaking it.

Not necessarily. You don't want to eat chicken that smells putrid but salmonella, which is your biggest worry for food poisoning with chicken, does not have a taste or smell.
posted by Candleman at 5:31 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I don't know what you expected a dead chicken to smell like, but it sounds OK to me.
posted by w0mbat at 6:52 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Not necessarily. You don't want to eat chicken that smells putrid but salmonella, which is your biggest worry for food poisoning with chicken, does not have a taste or smell.

Very true, but there is no risk of salmonella poisoning if a chicken is cooked through. More and more, I cut up the chicken in order to get properly cooked legs without drying out the breast pieces. Another method is to put a whole lemon (organic and thoroughly washed) in the cavity while roasting.
posted by mumimor at 3:42 PM on March 10


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